Adaptation Displacement: While the special hasn't completely displaced the book per se, we challenge anyone to read the book to themself and not hear Boris Karloff narrarating it. Also, the Grinch's green coloring was an invention of the special — a somewhat necessary one, as Seuss' original illustrations were in black and white with red accents (at the time the book was published, color printing was still rather limited).
To further drive the point home regarding how tied to the role Boris Karloff is, there exist two record productions of the story, one narrated by Zero Mostel (made before the cartoon special), and one by Walter Matthau (made after the special). Both performances sound particularly jarring to hear.
And You Thought It Would Fail: Dr. Seuss was initially hesitant about making this special, remembering how badly his attempt to venture into filmturned out and feared television would produce similar results. Instead, it became one of the most acclaimed Christmas Specials of all time
Ear Worm: "Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores, Welcome Christmas Come this way..."
First Installment Wins: Though several others specials based on Dr. Seuss books were made after the success of this, none of them came anywhere close to match the success of this one and are generally overlooked by the public today.
The unsettling Nosferatu-esque wall shadow which all but consumes Cindy Lou Who as he's lying to her.
Ron the Death Eater: Maddox is thoroughly convinced the Whos are the worst neighbors in the multiverse and that the Grinch should be a sympathetic character for putting up with it for 53 years straight.
The Woobie: Max gets treated pretty badly by the Grinch for much of the story, almost bordering on Kick the Dog.
Critical Backlash: From the half of the audience who liked it. It's nowhere near among the greatest Christmas films of all time, and it may have been stretched out too long for some people, but to others, it's not a bad film adaptation of the book and mostly maintains the spirit of it. And not to mention, it's far better than the following film based on a Dr. Seuss book.
Critical Dissonance: This was the #1 film for four weeks after its release, and became the highest grossing film of 2000 domestically ($260 million). Critical response was still sharply divided (53% on Rotten Tomatoes and 46/100 on Metacritic). There are those who like the film, and those who consider it an abomination.
It got three Academy Award nominations, winning only one for Best Makeup, which was very well deserved considering what the actors had to go through. Especially poor Jim Carrey who had to act in a stuffy yak-furred suit for a whopping 92 days, which took 2 and a half hours to apply and the same amount of time to remove every day. Jim Carrey got nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Globes for it. On the flip side, it also got two nominations for Razzies (but won neither).
Designated Villain: Why exactly are we supposed to root against the Grinch when he has every reason to hate those bastards?
He does become more of a legitimate villain in the third act (the one actually adapted from the book) mainly because the Whos, while still misguided, do accept him back during the Whobilation and the Grinch tries to steal Christmas from all of them regardless based on only the actions of one of them (the mayor).
Franchise Original Sin: Despite some poor moments, the film manages to be pretty good for the most part, keeping the spirit of the original story. The infamous Cat In The Hat film that followed it however forgot all of the stuff that worked and instead focused on amplifying everything about the Grinch movie that was bad.
Ham and Cheese: Jim Carrey providing his trademark ham to the movie's cheese. While the critics provide the whine.
Hilarious in Hindsight: A character who runs away to a snowy mountain as a result of being different from their peers, who ends up creating an impressive lair within that mountain, and eventually defrosts thanks to a brave girl determined to make them open up. Are we talking about the Grinch, or are we talking about Elsa?
Jerkass Woobie: The Grinch due to his new backstory. He was a borderline sociopath as a kid until one Christmas he put all his heart into embracing the holiday and being good... and wound up traumatized and an outcast in the end. Then at the Whoobilation, he starts getting into the holiday again... until the Mayor yanks his chain and reinforces his previous cynical view of it.
Rooting for the Empire: The Grinch was already subject to this sometimes, but this movie increased it by fleshing out his backstory and giving him a Freudian Excuse, along with making the Whos all seem rather shallow and greedy by comparison.
Squick: At one point, the Grinch gleefully tricks the sleeping mayor into rimming Max. No, really.
The Grinch's little rant after the aforementioned yanking is not entirely without merit. His plan would have succeeded if it hadn't been for Lou Lou Who standing up for his daughter and reminding the people that they still have each other on Christmas.
The mayor's complaints about the Grinch as well. Stable people don't vent by causing explosions and sparking panic-riots, and the Grinch has been causing all kinds of trouble for years. Augustus may have sparked his biggest rampage yet, but regardless, the Grinch isn't exactly the kind of person you'd hurry to invite to any celebration. But then again, constantly isolating him certainly wasn't helping matters, either.
Visual Effects of Awesome: One thing the viewers can unanimously agree on with this movie is how spot on the make-up for the Grinch is. They managed to make Jim Carrey look exactly like the Grinch without the slightest restriction to his wide array of facial expressions, a feat that could not have been easy. No wonder this film won the Academy Award for Best Makeup in 2000.